Ah, fall and winter. Pumpkin everything. Sweater weather. And 40% less sunshine…
Just recently I participated in my local Turkey Trot running on behalf of the Burbank Animal Shelter, an organization I volunteer with when I’m not running or slinging papers in my cubicle. We did a great job of raising funds so I ran until I hurt myself, like ya do. (Editor’s note: DON’T do that!). So later that night as I RICEd my hammy (hamstring) I poured a nice martini and longed over all the races I recently signed up for including two nighttime races in the fabulous city of Las Vegas. I will be doing my first 51K at the ET Full Moon and then I return to Vegas for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon! And wouldn’t you know it happened to be Black Friday online, and these being night races and it getting dark so early I loaded up on night time gear, naturally.
And that friends is the topic of today’s post: Running safely in the dark!
The biggest thing for your evening runs is making sure you are visible to all possible human or animal obstacles.”Animals?” you ask. If you live in a semi rural area you may have coyotes like we do (in the burbs…) and I’ve ran into them at least 4 times now. I always wonder what people looking out their window think when I’m waving my arms around trying to look big and yelling “YAW!” at the coyotes…
Anyway! Streetlights are cool and all, but I’ve found them to not be the most up-kept items on the city’s list. Rather than trying to illuminate a dark patch with your phone I believe all runners should have a head lamp. You can pick these up pretty cheaply at home improvement stores, or go with fancy pants running ones at your local store. Mine has 3 settings for continuous, fast blink, slower blink. It also can detach from the headband they provided and attach to a hat brim which is pretty helpful in winter weather.
Next on my list of important night thingys is MORE LIGHTS! One of my first purchases as a runner was a LED band/pouch that also has 3 blinky settings. I adjust it to be around my natural waist outside my shirt, where it would be visible to most cars. The pouch also holds my gels, keys, etc so win-win. I also have picked up a blinky bracelet that I wear on the arm facing traffic. This is so if the headlamp and lighted waist isn’t enough maybe cars will see the wildly swinging light in their lane.
Neeeeext on my check list of safety items is REFLECTIVE EVERYTHING. I love reflective gear. It’s like an insurance plan for if my lights were to fail on a long run. During my Black Friday binge I got some reflective laces from Road ID with 700ft visibility, yo. I’ve also got slap bracelets at a box store that are just reflective little bracelets to wear on my arms or ankles. On another ankle I have my reflective Road ID (more on that later). My water handheld and pack also has reflective tape on them. And of course my sweet Adidas look black in the light but have a sweet blue reflective wrapping around most of the shoe. Pluuuussss ET Full Moon legally required I buy a 360 reflective vest to run it, which I pick up at the expo. I’m gonna be so hot looking like a crossing guard.
And lastly on my list of “must have” night visibility gear is those obnoxious neon clothes. I look terrible in bright colors but fashion takes a back seat to safety at all times. Two new purchases in this arena are a new Road ID shirt and a New Balance windcheater jacket in “Toxic”. Sexy. Aw man. And as I go to fact check that color name I saw the New Balance Beacon line I so so want. Look at all that reflective stuff and GLOW IN THE DARK accents. But alas it’s in black and friends we want to be *neon* at night.
I did mention Road ID a few times and I want to give them a plug. Aside from all this cool gear I got from them I updated my ankle tag. If you are any sort of active person from a runner, to a hiker, an obstacle racer, triathlete, or even a casual long walker I firmly believe everyone should have a Road ID. If something were to happen like you weren’t neon as the sun, reflective as a mirror, and blinking like crazy (ahem) and somehow you were struck that Road ID should have your emergency contact information to help the first responder team. Mine has my full name, DOB, husbands number, FATHERS number, my medical allergies, AND that I can’t do the seeing thing too well. Does your driver license have all that?! Probably not. Hence, spend the few bucks ($20 to $30 and if you use My link you can get $5 off) and get one folks. They even make them to clip onto fitbits so really no excuse.
And finally a quick additional checklist of items to have on every run: A bottle of water or electrolyte drink, A few paper dollars in case you need an extra bottle of water out there and the store doesn’t take plastic, a credit card in case you need to hail a cab, a phone so you can hail a ride share and also contact someone should something go sideways, and I additionally still take my driver license. Some people take copies of theirs but I’m a fan of beer and a fan of post run beer so I like to just cut to the chase and be ready to go.
You bet your butt I’m going right to the bar after those two Las Vegas night runs! I’m going to be a walking blinky lil’ rave in my neon and I’ll have my ID and credit card all set to go. Maybe I’ll learn to finally play poker before I go. I’ve only played once and I won, so kinda like to wait until I’m there again. I also have only been to Vegas once before. My Husband and I were just starting to date and I said “You know, I’ve never been to Vegas before” and he said “Okay, let’s go”. It was on Halloween and we stayed at Circus Circus. Our phones weren’t smart back then and we walked the entire strip from end to end. So I feel pretty prepared for that run 😉
But since I’ve only been once, what do you folks think I should do out there?? I’m thinking Penn and Teller, but what’s your favorite show? I’m a big Elvis geek, so tell me what ya got! Maybe there’s something in these awesome deals that you recommend I do?! What’s your favorite resort? Much love to Circus Circus but if I’m running 26+ miles I want that Sinatra experience!! Maybe a Vacation package? Tell me your thoughts in comments or heck join me on these two AWESOME night runs!!!